ST. LOUIS – Power pitching often dominates in the postseason. Soft tosses by Randy Wolf got the Milwaukee Brewers back to even in the N.L. championship series.
The 35-year-old lefty outfoxed the St. Louis Cardinals for seven innings to earn his first postseason win and the Brewers got two more hits from Ryan Braun in a 4-2 victory Thursday night that evened the NLCS at 2-all.
“It was a big feeling just to be back out there again after my last start,” said Wolf, hit hard by Arizona to force a deciding Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs. “Just to be able to get another opportunity to pitch again was important.
“You know, I’ll be honest with you, the day after the Diamondbacks start, I didn’t eat or shower that day,” he said.”
Flipping some pitches in the mid-60s mph, Wolf allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six with one walk.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig homered for the Cardinals, representing their only runs in the last 16 innings.
“I think it’s classic because playing each other so many times, we’re dead even,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It comes down to that day, who makes the pitch.”
Francisco Rodriguez allowed a hit in the eighth and John Axford finished for his second save of the series and third this postseason.
The Brewers ended an eight-game road losing streak in the postseason dating to the 1982 World Series opener at St. Louis. And Wolf ended a lengthy drought of his own – before Thursday, his 342 starts without a postseason victory were the most among active pitchers.
Game 4 loser Kyle Lohse moves to second on the list at 298 starts, trailing only Ted Lilly’s 318.
Jaime Garcia faces Zack Greinke for the second time in the series in Game 5 tonight. Either way, the NLCS will be decided back at Miller Park.
“We’re pretty much the only team that’s played pretty well in Milwaukee. Flip the page and hopefully come back to tomorrow. It’s a great series. Nobody is going to run away,” Cardinals star Albert Pujols said.
Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled twice with an RBI and Wolf hit one of the Brewers’ five doubles. Braun is batting .471 (16 for 34) in the postseason with two homers and nine RBIs.
The Cardinals needed more heavy duty from their bullpen, too, after Lohse, pitching on 12 days’ rest, failed to make it out of the fifth.
“I’m not going to blame it on the layoff,” Lohse said. “We’re professionals and we’ve got get the job done. Tonight, we didn’t do it.”